Teen Girls Charged for Allegedly Threatening Steubenville, Ohio, Rape Victim
Two teenage girls were charged with menacing today for allegedly threatening the victim in the Steubenville, Ohio, rape case via Twitter and Facebook, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced.
"Let me be clear," DeWine said in a news release on his website announcing the arrests this evening. "Threatening a teenage rape victim will not be tolerated. If anyone makes a threat verbally or via the Internet, we will take it seriously, we will find you, and we will arrest you."
Trent Mays, 17, and Ma'lik Richmond, 16, a pair of high school football players, were found delinquent Sunday in the sexual assault of an intoxicated 16-year-old girl in Steubenville. Being found delinquent is the juvenile court equivalent of being found guilty.
Both Mays and Richmond were sentenced to at least one year in juvenile jail and could be held until they are 21. Mays was sentenced to an additional year for a charge related to distributing nude images of a minor. Attorneys for both of the defendants said they plan to appeal.
After the sentencing, detectives notified the attorney general's office of the alleged social media threats, DeWine's office said. As a result, a 16-year-old girl was charged today with aggravated menacing for allegedly threatening the life of the victim via Twitter, and a 15-year-old was charged with menacing for allegedly threatening bodily harm via Facebook.
Both girls were taken to the Jefferson County Juvenile Detention Center on the misdemeanor charges, the attorney general's office said.
Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla explained why the threats had to be taken seriously, according to ABC News Radio.
"If I just laid back and be lackadaisical and say, 'Oh well, no big deal,' and something happens, whose fault is it?" he asked. "I wouldn't be able to live with myself."
Before the charges announced today, DeWine had suggested the case might not end with Mays and Richmond's convictions. He announced that a grand jury would convene in mid-April to investigate whether there could be additional indictments or charges in the case.
Today, however, the parents of the 16-year-old victim indicated they did not want additional people charged in the case because they want "their little girl to have her life back."
"The family just wants everything over. That's their desire," the victim's family's attorney Robert Fitzsimmons told ABCNews.com today. "They were hoping that the charges had been completed and that justice was served yesterday and they hope that they can move on with their lives."
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